In the middle of the night the ground began to shake and the sound of thunder boomed in the air. Masheka pulled me from my sleeping robe. “Dress quickly.”
I slid on my tunic as Masheka began to tie our furs and supplies to the horses. “What is it?” I asked in sleepy confusion.
Masheka tossed me onto Good Thunder’s back. The stallion started prancing around and I could hardly control him. His nostrils were flared and his ears flat.
“A herd of buffalo!”
“Where’s Wind Chaser?” I looked around anxiously for my companion.
“He’s off hunting. When they reach us, you must stay on Good Thunder and make for the edge of the herd so you can escape.”
The thunder now distinguished itself as pounding hoofs. A huge sea of dark forms approached us. “Masheka, mount!” I yelled in terror. Masheka sprung on Straight Arrow and both horses started running as the buffalo crushed in around us, catching us up in its wave. We were soon in the middle of a herd of racing buffalo. The huge beasts surrounded us on all sides, packing us in tightly. Their size and power was frightening and yet magnificent. The sound of their bellows and snorting breath pounded in my ears. Dust billowed up filling my lungs. Their huge dark-furred bodies would have instantly crushed me if I hadn’t been on Good Thunder. Father often rode Good Thunder when hunting buffalo, so the stallion was experienced in keeping clear of the sharp horns on their shaggy heads.
At first I was close to Masheka, but it was beyond our power to be more than led along by the thunderous herd. We soon became separated. Trepidation filled me; I’d never been allowed to accompany the men on a buffalo hunt. I didn’t know how to escape from the panicked, stampeding herd. Suddenly I saw a white buffalo racing among them—the most sacred of all animals. My fear subsided and I was in awe at being a part of this powerful herd.
My arms and legs ached from the effort of trying to stay on Good Thunder’s back. Gradually I became aware that the rumbling was lessening and the huge furred bodies were fewer around me. The herd was slowing down and swerving as it came to a forest. Good Thunder was soon able to make his way clear of the herd. I slipped off him as the sound of thundering hoofs faded.
Good Thunder was covered in sweat and his sides heaved from racing. My own heart pounded as if I’d been running. I wondered if Masheka, Straight Arrow and Wind Chaser were safe.
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